Summer music: four Americana albums

Blues, jazz, country, folk,: these voices help make up the sounds of the United States: Whether your summer travels take you to distant places or your own neighborhood, here’s music that will travel well along with you.

Radney Foster brings is the Texas twist to this road trip journey.Twenty years ago, his album Del Rio, Texas, 1959 became a contemporary country classic. with songs that melded Texas heart with Nashville storytelling. Foster wanted to look at the songs with two decades of wisdom and music making added. The result is
Del Rio, Texas Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome. Just Call Me Lonesome, Me and John R, Old Silver, Louisiana Blue — songs of life and love in heartland America stand the test of time, and this time out they are burnished by the freedom of a group of musical friends getting together in one room and digging into the music. Marty Maguire on fiddle, Jon Randall Stewart and Steve Fishell on guitars, Glen Fukanaga on bass and Michael Ramos on keyboards got together at Cedar Creek Studios in Austin, and as Foster says, “you have these incredible musicians doing things on the fly.”

It was just such a commitment to making music on the fly that became the genesis of Across the Imaginary Dividea collaboration between piano master Marcus Roberts and his trio and banjo master Bela Fleck. Roberts was playing a jam session after hours at the savannah music FEstival, Fleck came along to listen in in, and before long was invited to come up and join in. A twelve track album in which the jazz based, roots inclined, bluegrass tinged blues music through pieces called That Ragtime Feeling to to One Blue Truth to Some Roads Lead Home, Across the Imaginary Divide makes an engaging instrumental companion for your travels.

Kate Campbell is known as a songwriter of the deep south, and so she remains on 1000 Pound Machine You hear this in titles of her songs, as well as the words: Red Clay After Rain, Spoonerville, Montgomery to Mobile, and Alabama Department of Corrections Mediation Blues. They are all stories you’ll want to hear, told in Campbell’s crystal clear soprano and with her insightful choice of word and melody. What adds a new dimension to this recording is the 1000 Pound Machine taken as the tile. For almost all the music in her thirteen previous albums, Campbell recorded with acoustic guitar. Here. she frames her stories the first instrument of her childhood, the piano.

In her concerts, Grammy winning artist Suzy Bogguss will often include, along with her chart topping country hits, jazz favorites, and western swing, several of the folk songs which she’s loved all her life. As she has asked people to sing along with the familiar folk songs, in recent years she ‘s noticed that not everybody knows the words of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Ol’ Dan Tucker, Red River Valley, Shady Grove, and others from the song bag of American history. So she decided to do something about that. The result is a seventeen track disc called American Folk Songbook with all those songs and twelve others, including Shenandoah, Sweet Betsy from Pike, and Wayfaring Stranger. Whether these are well known, half forgotten, or unknown to you, chances are you will enjoy listening to them in Bogguss’. clear soprano, and chances are she will soon have you singing along yourself.

photograph of Bela Fleck is by Kerry Dexter, and is copyrighted. thank you for respecting this.

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